3 things trees taught me about motherhood
The changing Fall colors and the falling leaves of the season have got me reflecting on trees lately - specifically, what we as moms can learn from these majestic beauties. Here are my takeaways.
In his book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben draws a surprising picture of trees I had never before considered. Trees are social creatures - in fact they need each other to live their longest, most productive lives. In a forest of the same species of tree, trees can actually communicate to each other, warn each other, and love each other. When one tree is sick or dying, all the surrounding trees can work to send nutrients to that tree to help bring it back to life. Trees can also communicate to each other to decide when to bloom, and all bloom together. Contrastly, if trees are taken out of their community system, they don't thrive as they should and often die much younger than similar trees in a community setting.
Moms are no different. We need each other to survive. When one of us is sick or hurting, say in the postpartum phase, we need to rally around her to bring her back to life. When one of us is "blooming," we can choose to celebrate and bloom with her. One thing is for sure, taken out of our community environment we will not thrive as we would if we were in it.
2. Letting Go
In the Fall, trees drop their leaves. But they are losing more than just their leaves. They are utilizing the natural loss to shed any toxins that may be hurting them or no longer serving them. They let it all go - so they can grow.
As moms, and as humans, this is such a powerful example. Loss never feels good, however, sometimes it is necessary. It's a good idea to take stock of your life on a regular basis and shed whatever is holding you back, hurting you or no longer serving you. This could be an addiction, a toxic friendship or even a social media account. It's important to prune so we can continue to grow into the powerful mothers we were born to be.
The oldest tree in the world is more than 4,000 years old. In The Hidden Life of Trees, Wohlleben discusses the idea that trees can be impetuous, drinking too much water during a rainy season so as not to have an adequate supply when the rains dry up. In this way, though, many trees can learn to pace themselves, ration their water intake and so continue to thrive throughout the year.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. We, like trees, need to learn to pace ourselves. Build in rest periods, go slow, take our time. Our kids are growing up fast, and we don't want to miss it because we were pushing ourselves too hard. In going slow, we actually make time for more meaningful moments and memories - and we can learn to thrive through it all.
Trees are beautiful. They are strong. And they belong together - just like us. Don't forget your strength and beauty as a mom. Make sure you are finding community, even if it is virtual. Give back as much as you take. Be patient. Time moves less quickly when you stop to breathe and take care of yourself. And let go of all that doesn't serve you. In this way, you will become like our sisters, the trees.